Present and Past Participle Phrase Exercise

In this present and past participle phrase exercise you are given sentences that include these phrases and you have to decide if they are correct or have errors.

The errors are those common to present and past participle phrases: punctuation, dangling modifiers and misplaced modifiers. Check out the lesson on these phrases if you need to learn more about them and the types of error first. But to summarise:

  • Dangling Modifier: The subject of the modifier (the participle phrase) is missing from the sentence, so the wrong word is modified.

  • Misplaced Modifier: The modifier is separated from the word it describes, leading to confusion in the sentence.

Present and Past Participle Phrase Exercise

Multiple Choice

Instructions

Some of these sentences are correct but some have errors commonly seen with present and past participle phrases. Choose the right answer.

1. Driven by passion, the novel was read in one sitting.
Correct
Punctuation Error
Dangling Modifier
Misplaced Modifier
Correct!
Wrong!

The past participle phrase "Driven by passion" is meant to modify the person reading the novel, but it incorrectly seems to modify the novel itself. Correction: "Driven by passion, John read the novel in one sitting".

2. Walking through the forest the hiker spotted a rare bird.
Correct
Punctuation Error
Dangling Modifier
Misplaced Modifier
Correct!
Wrong!

The present participle phrase "Walking through the forest" should be followed by a comma to indicate the separation between the phrase and the main clause.

3. The novel was written by a renowned author, recognised for his literary contributions.
Correct
Punctuation Error
Dangling Modifier
Misplaced Modifier
Correct!
Wrong!

The past participle phrase "recognised for his literary contributions" correctly comes after the noun it modifies (author) and is separated off from the main clause with a comma.

4. Eager to impress the guests, the dinner table was set with fine china.
Correct
Punctuation Error
Dangling Modifier
Misplaced Modifier
Correct!
Wrong!

The past participle phrase "Eager to impress the guests" is meant to modify the person setting the table, but it incorrectly seems to modify the dinner table, creating a dangling modifier. Correction: "Eager to impress the guests, Jayne set the dinner table with fine china".

5. Baked to perfection, the children couldn't resist the smell of cookies in the kitchen.
Correct
Punctuation Error
Dangling Modifier
Misplaced Modifier
Correct!
Wrong!

The past participle phrase "Baked to perfection" is meant to modify the cookies, but it incorrectly seems to modify the children, leading to a misplaced modifier. Correction: "Baked to perfection, the smell of cookies in the kitchen was irresistible to the children".

6. The book, written by a famous author, is a bestseller.
Correct
Punctuation Error
Dangling Modifier
Misplaced Modifier
Correct!
Wrong!

The past participle phrase "written by a famous author" correctly comes after the noun it modifies (book) and is separated off from the main clause with commas.

7. The team won the championship celebrating their hard-earned victory with cheers and applause.
Correct
Punctuation Error
Dangling Modifier
Misplaced Modifier
Correct!
Wrong!

The present participle phrase is "celebrating their hard-earned victory with cheers and applause" and so a comma should be placed before "celebrating".

8. Dancing in the moonlight, the couple celebrated their anniversary with joy.
Correct
Punctuation Error
Dangling Modifier
Misplaced Modifier
Correct!
Wrong!

In this example, "Dancing in the moonlight" is a fronted present participle phrase that provides additional information about how the couple celebrated their anniversary. The phrase is correctly placed at the beginning of the sentence and is followed by a comma.

9. Prepared with care, the chef served the delicious meal to the guests.
Correct
Punctuation Error
Dangling Modifier
Misplaced Modifier
Correct!
Wrong!

The present participle phrase "Prepared with care" modifies the chef, but it should modify "the delicious meal". Correction: "Prepared with care, the delicious meal was served to the guests (by the chef)".

10. Running late for the meeting, the report was hastily completed.
Correct
Punctuation Error
Dangling Modifier
Misplaced Modifier
Correct!
Wrong!

The present participle phrase "Running late for the meeting" is intended to modify the person completing the report. However, it mistakenly appears to modify "the report". This creates confusion about who is running late for the meeting. Corrected: "Running late for the meeting, Susan hastily completed the report".

11. Jumping over the hurdle, the athlete displayed impressive agility.
Correct
Punctuation Error
Dangling Modifier
Misplaced Modifier
Correct!
Wrong!

In this example, "Jumping over the hurdle" is a fronted present participle phrase that provides additional information about the athlete. The phrase is correctly placed at the beginning of the sentence and is followed by a comma.

12. I was scared by the man, holding the big stick.
Correct
Punctuation Error
Dangling Modifier
Misplaced Modifier
Correct!
Wrong!

If the participle phrase is after the noun in the middle/end of a sentence and is giving essential information, no comma is needed. "holding the big stick" is identifying which man so it is essential information. Correction: "I was scared by the man holding the big stick".

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